Class B for Porsche GT3 Cup cars has just three entries in 2019 but all three are of real quality:
Grove Racing field the #4 car for FIA WEC regular Ben Barker and for father and son Stephen and Brenton Grove. The team has real form, not only in Aussie one-make racing, but also at the Bathurst 12 Hour. They are defending class Champions and looking to add to a total of three previous Class wins.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia enter a single car too for the second consecutive year here:
The #23 car features a galaxy of Series stars: Chris van der Drift has three Carrera Cup Asia titles already on his cv including back to back titles for the past two years. His luck in this race though is less glittering, 8th in class his best of three starts.
Philip Hamprecht was runner up to van der Drift in 2018’s Carrera Cup Asia whilst Bao Jinlong has been building a reputation in one make Porsche and Audi racing in Asia in recent years.
Paul Tressider is a hugely experienced gentleman one-make racer again looking for a breakthrough result at the 12 Hour.
Ashley Seward Motorsport completes the class, their #43 car, Kiwi Sam Fillmore teamed with Aussies Richard Muscat and Danny Stutterd.
There’s plenty of experience on tap here – Studdert starts his 6th consecutive Bathurst 12 Hour and 204 Australian GT Champ Muscat has raced in the last two Bathurst 100s. They complete a quality class trio.
Class C for FIA GT4 cars sees six cars entered, a single BMW, a single Ginetta and a trio of KTM XBows though will be the starters after one of the G55s was withdrawn.
Australia has been a tough marketplace for GT4, the strong demand for GT3 in country stifling growth and even well-established teams struggling for a foothold.
That said the quintet here is a fascinating mix.
The #13 BMW M4 GT4 is entered by RHC Jorgensen-Strom with MARC Cars Australia, the US end of the deal bringing the car, and Darren Jorgensen and Brett Strom, the pair combining for the first time with the Aussie team at December’s GT4 Invitational event supporting the FIA GT Nations Cup in Bahrain, and taking the Am class win. They are joined at Bathurst by Gerard McLeod, brother of MARC Cars Australia owner Ryan McLeod, and the son of 1997 Bathurst 1000 winning driver Peter McLeod, Gerard has a pair of starts here at the 12 Hour in MARC Cars.
The trio of KTMs is brought to the Mountain by M Motorsport, a third consecutive Bathurst campaign for the team.
The three car team is headlined by the #71 M Motorsport / Equity One entry which features Dean Koutsoumidis, James Winslow and Jake Parsons sharing the driving duties.
Koutsoumidis has become one of the most experienced ‘Am’ drivers in GT3 competition in recent years, while regular co-driver Winslow is a former Australian F3 champion with more recent winning form in LMP3 competition in Europe and Asia.
Parsons joins the squad having spent several years in the United States chasing the ‘Road to Indy’ programme.
The #50 M Motorsport / Vantage Freight entry includes David Crampton, Trent Harrison, KTM factory racer Caitlin Wood and Gold Star champion, Tim Macrow.
All four were part of the KTM squad last year.
The third KTM entry is the #48 car which includes M Motorsport team owner Justin McMillan, Carrera Cup racer Glen Wood, Touring Car Masters race winner Dean Lillie and Peter Major.
Ginetta Australia is another returning effort and their initial entry will now be a single 2018 spec G55 with Brad Schumacher (no relation) and Jimmy Vernon confirmed and a third driver to be announced in the next 24 hours.
Schumacher is a Bathurst resident and regular Lotus racer whilst Vernon is a known ‘gun’ with winning form in single seaters and one make GT cars (Porsche and Toyota GT86).
The Invitational class this year is an all-MARC Cars affair with a pair apiece of the original Ford Focus bodied V8 racers and the newer Gen 2 Mustang tube frame cars.
MARC Cars Australia and Liajen Motorsport both enter one of each iteration.
The #91 MARC entered ‘Mustang’ sees team regular and double class winner in the past two years Keith Kassulke teamed with four-time Australian Super Touring Champion and 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner Paul Morris, the pair joined by ex Champcar racer Paul Tracy, a late replacement for an injured Boris Said.
The #20 T2 Racing by Liajen Motorsport ‘Stang’ teams gentleman racer Adam Hargraves with experienced Kiwi Daniel Jilesen and two-time Fujitsu V8 Supercars and two-time Bathurst 1000 runner up Steve Owen.
The #96 MARC entered Focus V8 sees LMP3 and TCR racer Mathijs Bakker joined by reigning 24H TCE Series Champion, Norwegian Einar Thorsen and Bathurst regular and regular class podium finisher, Hadrian Morrall.
Finally, there’s an all-Aussie line up win the #92 Liajen Motorsport Focus V8 with 2017 Class B Bathurst 12 Hour winner and Carrera Cup Asia title contender Dylan O’Keefe a late call up to join MARC Cars regulars Jason Busk and Geoff Taunton.